tv [untitled] November 25, 2011 3:30am-4:00am PST
committee is our policy bodies, so a gathering of two or three would be a meeting. that retreats, workshops, site tores, gatherings, which are now not as common, but when i came into this office, it was very common to have a new gathering before or after a board meeting. those are meetings, and they have to be noticed. of course, there is nothing wrong with having a retreat. no you're having one next week, in two weeks, but a retreat is just a meeting that has to be noticed just like any other, and the public has the right to attend and participate. there are some important exceptions to the basic definition of a meeting. meetings can occur even though the majority of a policy body is
not in the same place at the same time, so the most obvious example is a telephone conference among the majority of the members of the policy body. you are not in the same physical place, but a telephone conference is a meeting, and you would not be allowed to have a delicate bone conference. -- to have a telephone conference. that also be an illegal meeting. a more subtle situation our meetings that occur when members of a policy body and of discussing an issue that is within their jurisdiction, even though those discussions occur may be between one member and another member. they do not occur at the same
time, they do not occur in the same place. the simplest is when they occur by telephone, when member calls member b, and them member b decides she wants to hear what member c has to say about that, and then member c calls member d. those are unlawful, and they do occur mostly through technology, telephones, facts, email, text messaging. they also can occur through human intermediaries, a member of your staff talking to one board member, find out what one board member things about a particular issue and goes to another board member and says, "well, board member a tells me this. what do you think?"
and that process goes on until it includes a majority of the members, and then you have an unlawful seriatim meeting. one thing we have cautioned board members a lot is that it is very easy to have email exchanges turned into an unlawful meeting. someone sends an email addresses it to all board members, and the members start replying. they hit reply all, and then it becomes a discussion among a majority of members about an item that is within the board jurisdiction. that discussion is not taking place in public. the public does not know. today, we're not talking about public records, but i also wanted to remind you that when you use technology to communicate by email or by text
or other means, even if you are using your own, personal device, if you are communicating about the public business, it is at least possible -- the lot is not very well developed on this issue, there have been a couple of cases, but we have not been given enough guidance yet, but it is possible that that could be subject to disclosure. i want to make sure you are all aware of that. ok, so now we know what a meeting is. we can go on to public notice. of course, all of your public meetings have to be noticed, and your secretary is an expert in that in making sure that is done properly, and that notice includes your agenda, and you cannot act on any matter or
discuss any matter that is not on your agenda. i think you all are well aware of this issue, and just a reminder, it includes discussion. an item that is not on your agenda. director: can i ask for a clarification of the process? >> sure. director: for an item to be on the agenda. >> the way that that works is that your agendas are sent by the director of transportation and the president or the chairman of your board, who sets the agenda and decides when items will come before the board, so an individual board member does not have the authority to command that a certain item appeared on the agenda at a certain time.
that is how the process works. president nolan: but as often happens, and during comments, as director brinkman did, that is -- >> that is ok, because you are hearing from the board, know what items the individual members went on, and you are discussing it with the director, especially if it requires some kind of staff action or staff report. you are making sure. you are doing that in your function as a chair as administrative matter to make sure that everything can come before the board in due course. and there is no problem with individual board members stating what they would like to have on the agenda, telling the executive director, that they would like to have something on the agenda, asking the chair to place it on the agenda.
that is perfectly fine. that is what you do. there are some exceptions to the rule about not discussing items on the agenda. they are extremely rare, but there are some in emergencies. you sometimes will be able to discuss matters that are not on the agenda. of course, our office would be giving you advice about this. i have been in this office for 22 years, and i think the only time i have ever seen this happen was after loma prieta. and this goes back to your question, about not discussing items on the agenda. it does not prevent people from asking to put something on a future agenda, from a board member following up on public comment, for asking for clarification about what their
concern is, a public common with the reference to staff or other resources or asking staff to report back on something that a member of the public is commenting about. so one of the other tenants for public meetings is that the public has a right to comment at all public meetings. they have the right to comment anonymously. your secretary asks for people to provide a speaker card, and that is fine, but if the speaker does not want to fill a speaker card, they have a right to address you. they have the right to criticize the policy body, criticize members of the policy body, to criticize staff. again, they need to keep on topic. and they do not have the right
to discriminate against members of staff, make discriminatory comments. that, again, is a matter that the deputy who is present would be advising about if you got into a situation like that. speakers have a right to equal time. you must give speakers equal time on the particular item, and speakers have the right to translation. the members of the public that do not speak english have a right to have their comments translated, and one more point of clarification because we have had that come up a bit, our understanding is, for example, if we are giving three minutes of public comment, and the person needs translation, it is three minutes for their comments and three minutes from the transmitter, but if they are translating their own comments, it is a total of three minutes. >> i think that is right, click.
>> madam chair, three minutes for the speaker, and then i do not time and all the translator. >> the limits on public comment, speakers have up to three minutes on an item. i know you are all familiar with this. sometimes you get less for everybody. they do not have the right to speak off topic or to discuss other meetings. they do not have the right to a response from the board or staff members. that is absolutely discretionary. and they do not have the right to discriminate against city staff. >> can i? so the no right to speak off topic, sometimes in a meeting we have some guy talking about steve jobs, just going off, and there was another person who
came up and sang a song in the past, and i am wondering -- i understand that they do not have the right to do that so to speak, but i am just curious as to how we should be handling those things in the future because i also want to encourage a sense of discipline from within this room, and i am wondering -- >> president nolan: the singer, i understand that he addresses the board, and it is topical. i had someone injected it from the room by sheriff's because he just would not stop. it was a very tense situation. in the event that it was kind of widespread and people would not respect that, we have the ability as in the chair to ask
for a recess and actually clear the room, but you have to allow them back in, is my understanding, there may be only a few at a time. >> yes, and i have definitely seen that happen. it can be quite effective. it can be really effective to recess the room, to allow people to calm down, to tell people that you want to go on to the meeting and that you want to hear from them and that you do not want them to shots of the people can be heard. i have seen that on more than a few occasions. i have never seen a chair just let a few people back in at a time, but our office has advised that you can do that if it is absolutely necessary. president nolan: there is
something that takes their 2 billion minutes, and they are speaking about something that is fairly jermaine, it is sometimes easier to let them finish. director: maybe some directors do not like that so much. >> that is what i have seen cheers do, interrupt the speaker and say this is the topic, or we are on this item. you can comment on this item, or we are in general public comment. do you have something to say about things that are under our jurisdiction, and generally that leads to it. you do have a situation sometimes where people for whatever reason, maybe because of a mental disability, really cannot stay on topic, and i think years handle it in different ways.
director: i have been thinking that you have done a good job so far , so the thank you. president nolan: we had a meeting before the was almost seven hours long. >> the policy body has to meet in public, and you are allowed to meet in closed sessions in very limited circumstances. personnel matters, pending litigation, labor negotiations, realistic negotiations. there are a few others that occur from time to time.
in terms of closed session, one of the most important things to know is that although some actions that you have taken must be disclosed when you return to open session, and, of course, the board votes after every closed session about whether it wants to disclose the closed session. in general, the closed session is confidential, and if the board has voted to not disclose, then the material, what was said, is confidential, and it is a violation of state law for individual board members to disclose the closed session discussion. president nolan: have you ever seen in 22 years someone disclose it? >> no, i had never seen the city
go after someone. director: what is it that allows us to all go to something like the recent streetcar presentation? >> if it is open to the public, maybe a public meeting, but it is not your public meeting. it is the meeting of a state board or a federal board, it is a ceremonial gathering or other gatherings, or even a social gathering that is not put on by you, that is not, for example, a christmas party. it happened to be in your
circle, and more than a majority showed up. the important thing to remember there is not using that gathering as an opportunity without thinking about it to talk about things that are under your jurisdiction. thank you. president nolan: not coming to my house for christmas. secretary boomer: some members of the public that when it to discuss with you, but seeing we have no closed session. president nolan: do we need a motion to adjourn? so moved. we are adjourned.
goldstein: welcome to the november 16, 2011, meeting of the board of appeals. we have these commissioners with us, and we also have victor pacheco, and i am cynthia goldstein, executive director. the senior building inspector is here, and we are joined by legislative affairs staff and the zoning administrator. at this time, mr. pacheco, we will go over the board meeting guidelines and conduct the swearing-in. secretary pacheco: the board requests that you turn off all phones and pagers and so they do
not disturb the proceedings. please carry on conversations in a hallway. the board rules for presentation are as follows each have seven minutes to present their cases and three minutes or rebuttals. people affiliated with these parties must include their comments within the seven or three-minute period. members of the public were not affiliated with the public -- with the parties have up to three minutes each to address the board and no rebuttals. to assist the board in the accurate preparation of minutes, members of the public who wish to speak on the item or oust but not required to submit a speaker card or a business card when you come up to speak. speaker cards and pans are available on the left side of the podium. the board welcomes your suggestions and comments, and our customers' satisfaction forms, as well. if you have a question about a rehearing, speak to board staff
during a break or call the board tomorrow. we are on mission street. this meeting is broadcast live on san francisco government television, sfgtv, cable channel 78, and dvd's of this program are available directly from sfgtv. we will conduct our swearing in process. if you wish to have the board it your testimony evidentiary weight, please stand, raise your right hand, and say "i do" after you have been sworn in or affirmed. please note that any member of the public may speak about taking an oath pursuant to their rights under the sunshine ordinance. ok. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth? thank you. director goldstein: thank you. we will start with item number one, which is public comment. is there any member of the public to wishes to speak on an item not on tonight's calendar? seeing none, item number two is commissioner comments and questions. commissioners? seeing none, we will move to item number three, which is the adoption of minutes. before you for discussion and possible adoption are the minutes from october 26, 2011. president goh: comments, commissioners? i will move for their adoption. director goldstein: are there any comments? seeing none, mr. pacheco, could you read the roll? secretary pacheco: on that motion to accept the minutes of october 26, 2011. those minutes are adopted. director goldstein: item number
four is a special item, an informational presentation on proposed planning code amendments. i think that the zoning administration. administrator would like to introduce this to the board. >> good afternoon, president, members of the board, scott sanchez, planning department. the presentation on planning code amendments, and we think this is relevant to this board because many of the amendments deal with things that are commonly before you, in particular dealing with the limited commercial uses, lcu's, which are often appealed to this board. this provides an alternate method for dealing with those requests and also deals with modifications to restore buildings and providing incentives to do that, so without further ado, i will turn this over to our current planning and legislative affairs division's aaron star. thank you. >> good afternoon, president,
commissioners. i have a powerpoint presentation for you today. so the proposed legislation was introduced by supervisor chiu earlier this year. it is a very diverse piece of legislation that is about 351 pages and touches on just about every aspect of the planning code, so in order to sort of oil that down for you, i have put it into nine different sections. the first is coda simplification. reduced off street parking requirements, historic, and small neighborhoods serving businesses, reduced variance is, and -- variances, control changes, and additional map changes. so i am well aware -- i am sure
you are well aware that this has become more complex. more things that were added to it were necessary to address the emerging code changes in different neighborhoods and various parts of the city. however, since it always a also contains redundance language, some definitions are listed in several places, and also includes several outdated sections. the proposed legislation looks to clean that up, and, for example, two of the areas of concern are the consolidation in dealing with section 136, new controls modeled after other controls, which are very comprehensive, and it also reduces the amount of automobile use definitions, by consolidating some into one section. it does a lot to reduce of
street parking requirements and dense, mixed-use districts, particularly rc districts. i am sorry, like the tenderloin or along van ness. it removes the 1 to 1 requirements, making this consistent and removes the minimum parking requirement in broadway and the north beach commercial districts and the chinatown mixed use districts, and also increases the authority of the zoning administrator to waive parking requirements under section 161. the proposed legislation also proposes changes that will help preserve historic buildings and expands the tdr program to allow development rights to be transferred route the c3. currently, they are only allowed
to be transferred in the individual c3's. and there is something to facilitate adaptive re-use, and this is also currently allowed for article 10 buildings, which are landmark buildings. it gives the authority to credit off-site publicly accessible open space towards open space requirements in article 10 and 11 buildings and allows them to waive certain code requirements when dealing with residential use. currently, many of these come in for variances, and these are often granted routinely, and allowing these for a process for applicants, as well as the city. it also encourages commercial, and one thing i am told that you deal with quite a bit are limited commercial uses. this legislation would allow
limited commercial uses to be reinstated three conditional use authorization, so if a commercial news existed since 1961, and they could document that, probably having to come in and get a conditional use to have that use reinstated at the planning commission. it also seeks to expand the limited corner use, which is actually in the provision in the code that was adopted free- market octavia rezoning effort. currently, limited corner commercial usages are limited to 1200 square feet, and it would increase it to 2500 square feet and would allow them within 100 of the quarter rather than just 50 feet. -- 100 feet of the corner. the proposed legislation also reduces variances and increases code compliance. it also increasesa